Forage is a Business; Manage Forage as a Business: Top 10 Strategies for Survival in the Forage Business
AUGUST 8, 2011
Optimal forage production for either grazing or haying is rooted in some basic fundamentals.
Larry Redmon, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, offers these 10 specific strategies to consider for your forage production system.
• Have a written plan.
• Use the right stocking rate.
Many ranches and farms are overstocked for various reasons such as
- increased animal size;
- lack of fertility and decreased forage production;
- lack of weed/insect control;
- distance of water from forage;
- slope greater than 10% to forage;
- brush density;
- rock cover in specific pastures;
- and drought.
• Soil test and apply fertilizer based on soil test recommendations.
• Protect the forage production investment. Insect control is often overlooked in forage production. Be sure to scout pastures for insects and consider treating for grasshoppers or fall army worm when first noticed.
• Protect the hay investment. Provide some type of covering to protect baled hay from the elements, which reduce quality over time.
• Don’t guess, get a forage analysis for the hay.
• Consider alternatives to feeding hay
• Consider alternatives to inorganic fertilizer
• Include forage legumes where applicable [ Generation Farmers consider this option.]
• Consider your forage base. Choose forage species that don’t require as many inputs, such as fertilizer. [ A well established grassy area seems to do well in most years.]
[Soil testing for nutrient levels and continued productivity of all rented ground is important for Iowa Farm Owners to monitor carefully.]
[ In a corn and soybean rotation, baled hay becomes the third crop taken from the Iowa land. Who makes the decision for how this hay will be used and to whom it will be given or sold? Questions that Generation Farmers must ask.]